We can’t wait for next year.
Monday, July 3rd – Star-Spangled Salute
An all-time high 12,555 of our closest friends flocked into The Pavilion last Monday – we really hope you were one of them.
The night started (and ended – but we’ll get to that later) with a bang. The Houston Symphony kicked off the show the way every celebration of America’s birthday should – with a rousing rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. This already fantastic performance by the symphony was bolstered by the unbelievable voice of a 17-year old vocalist, Sean Holshouser. First, his vocals silenced the packed Pavilion – we were stunned by his range and the maturity in his voice. As the Star-Spangled Banner’s energy rose, however, so did the crowd’s resolve to applaud Sean’s performance. Sean crescendoed emphatically, and the night was on its way.
Holshouser wouldn’t be the only impressive vocalist to take the stage. After playing a few American classics that got the crowd up and dancing, Grammy-nominated singer Ryan Shaw took the stage. Ryan is an all-out performer, and his range couldn’t possibly be overstated. He led the people of The Pavilion in the kind of jam-session you wouldn’t normally expect at a symphony show. We were continually surprised at what Ryan’s voice could do and we were having more fun than I could put into words. There was plenty of dancing to go around.
After a full set of patriotic, symphonic and American classics, the Houston Symphony presented its salute to the members of our military, both veterans and active. It recognized each of the branches of our armed forces with their theme and presented the audience with an opportunity to show their gratitude as well. It was a sweet thing to see over 12,000 people stand in thanks for the service of brave men and women – and well deserved.
The night ended the only way it could – with the 1812 Overture and the firing of real cannons from atop the lawn. It was a perfectly patriotic finish to a night we won’t soon forget.
Saturday, July 8th – Symphonic Sights and Sounds
The sky and symphony were in concert together this past Saturday. From the opening notes of this enthralling combination of visual and auditory cues, the sky provided a brilliant backdrop. I’ll let it speak for itself.
On stage, we witnessed something pretty brilliant as well. Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong acted as a guide for the audience as he and the Houston Symphony dove into an exquisite line-up of songs you probably know, but didn’t know you knew. Between each piece Lecce-Chong stopped and helped the audience understand what to look for in the music in everyday terms and then – and this was one of the most fun parts of the show – provided videos onscreen to help the listener feel the music even further.
We watched cows storm a country hillside, cowboys raid the old west, day break in a far off land and lightning storms roll in on a clear night. Through it all, Lecce-Chong was excited to share what he loved most. His presentation brought to mind the passion that is required to play in a symphony, and the passion required to lead one.
The night closed with Lecce-Chong leading the Houston Symphony through the William Tell Overture (you may know it as the theme to The Lone Ranger). Lecce-Chong explained that though the last four minutes of the piece are the most popular, the entire piece is a beautiful triumph, and well worth listening to time and time again. As the symphony played, guests on the lawn noticed lightning striking in the clouds far in the distance. Suddenly, the music and lightning became something incredible together – something I’m glad to say I was there for.
Are you ready for the upcoming week at The Pavilion?
Friday, July 14: Third Eye Blind and Silversun Pickups – Tickets & Info
Wednesday, July 19: The Composer is Dead with The Houston Symphony – Tickets & Info